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by   -   August 14, 2012

SF Bay Area Robotics meetup – August 21 7pm – 8.30pm at Lemnos Labs – is a kickstarter edition. Claire Delauney will share her experience with Botiful, as she reaches the final 12 hours of her Kickstarter and is currently still only 75% 80% funded. There will be a speakers with kickstarter a range of experiences, positive and negative and we discuss what it takes for a successful hardware startup campaign and when Kickstarter or other crowdfunding platforms are a strategic good fit for your project.

One thing to consider before crowdfunding your robot startup, is that around half of all projects don’t get funded. Also, some crowdfunding platforms specialize in creative projects or projects with a lower average target than a hardware startup. Those 6 figure success stories are unusual if you look closely at the data. I’m currently drafting up a deeper look at crowdfunding data vis robots (or product based projects). Crowdfunding can be an amazing tool for launching your robot startup but too many good robots are missing their target due to lack of marketing. Not only is hardware more expensive to launch than an album or even a short film, but we often also lack the fan base.

But at Robot Launchpad, a problem is just an opportunity we haven’t seized yet. We’re going to launch the Launchies! Let’s see who the social network sharp shooters are! The Launchies are awards for robot startup marketing. First topic – Botiful (or #botiful) – Claire Delauney’s ‘Botiful’ kickstarter campaign closes on Wednesday August 22nd and is 75% 80% funded. We should all be backers because Botiful is beautiful, but we want everyone to test their market channels.

  • Best/funniest share of video (check out Elad’s entry already at Robot App Store!)
  • Best/funniest share of picture
  • Best/funniest share of text (tweet or blog)
  • Most number of times #botiful is shared
  • and overall Biggest Social Badass award

plus most creative use of ANY/ALL social networks – not just internet ones!

Don’t make us search for you – send us a link! Awards winners will be announced on Tuesday 21st August at the SF Bay Area Robotics Meetup. There will be trophies and prizes! There will be glory!

by   -   August 9, 2012

Ken Ihara’s creation “The Cardboard Robot” has just been funded on Kickstarter. The Cardboard Robot is a giant industrial sized robot arm with a reach just shy of 6 feet. Attach the smart phone camera attachment, and you have a robotic camera crane. The computer-controlled cardboard robot plugs into your computer via the USB port and is fully programmable. In software, you can define set points and then have the robot arm run through the programmed path. You can save your programmed paths as CSV files, which you can edit in Excel.  Motor speed is independently adjustable. As PC World put it, one advantage is it’s industrial size but can’t kill you. The other great advantage is cost.

CNET– “Thanks to its corrugated construction, the Cardboard Robot lets you command your own industrial-size claw or film crane for a fraction of the cost of a metal arm.”

There have been other cardboard robots, even robot arms but this one is the first to combine functionality with affordability. Ihara reached his relatively modest Kickstarter goal of $10,000 with days to spare. Also for every $3,000 that is raised by the Kickstarter funding campaign, Ihara will send one complete kit to a high school in the USA.

Cardboard is economical in and of itself, but its light weight as a material creates a reduction in costs across the board, as motors don’t need to be as large or powerful, etc. Robotics is perhaps a better use for cardboard because of the flow on effect, rather than the infamous cardboard bicycle which might only cost $9 to make but will retail for approx $90. You can buy a metal bike from Walmart for the same price. (Gioria Kariv from Israel is pictured here from recent press but another variant was also created in 2008 by UK student Phil Bridge)

Kariv credits a cardboard canoe for giving him inspiration. I am similarly inspired by the Origami Kayak. Oru is made out of corrugated polypropolene rather than pure cardboard , but has similar features. It’s strong, light, flexible and cheap. Both materials allow for different design and manufacturing techniques which haven’t been fully explored yet.

If you haven’t seen Anton Willis demonstrating his kayak at TechShop or at meetups, then you can read David Lang’s piece on Oru for Make Magazine. Anton Willis used TechShop to create prototypes for a product that is now ready for sale. He’s also inspired by the many other untapped projects for polypropolene and cardboard.

The potential in new ways to construct robots is as exciting for robotics as the other recent changes like rapid prototyping, bespoke manufacturing and 3d printing.

Exploring from a Distance
July 28, 2020

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